Saturday, February 17, 2007

Birmingham And Solihull Mental Health Latest Swasticka Image

Its funny isnt it ?

How the latest Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Trust Board papers record in them that the Trust is going to make a 1.8 million surplus .

This is in the same year that they have put in their application to become a Foundation Trust and at least one of the qualifications is, they show they can produce a sizeable surplus .

So where did they produce it from ? Well (its funny) they produced it from underspending on staff wages or rather, put another way around : need is not met by having the right staff employed for all the patient demand there is .

That is what UserWatch believes.

This just gets hidden in waiting times to be seen and managed in other ways by partly ignoring patient's internal pain and crises and having inadequate systems that allow for the expression and even record of that. One example given to Userwatch was by a Birmingham User who claimed that a team were supposed to be contactable between 9. a.m. and 5 p.m. only to finally discover the person who took the phone messages only worked part time . There have been other examples too .

Are patients at risk ? You bet they are but UserWatch repeats that gets hidden too, in quietly unrecorded ways, and voices that will never be heard properly and recorded because the mechanisms are not robust enough . The Trust have certainly ensured some real unheard voices of pain with their financial squeezes on service capacity .

The "User Voice" just does not exist properly unless its somehow truly backed up outside of the Trust's slick and soapy apparatus ..

The Internal User Voice mechanism in the Trust knows it is hampered but will not strike out for its own independence. That is partly mystifying since they are unlikely to lose out. Strangely the new PALS manager an ex User Voice Co-ordinator is also still doubling up as "User Voice" in the Clinical Governance Committee minutes - a strange state of affairs .

User Voice as the internally paid User/staff mechanism too is also backed as desirable by the Trust Board in the latest Board Papers after Sue Turner gave out a panicky CEO report trumpeting the need to keep it internal after learning the PPI were examining a model of an Independent User Voice ..

Its all "funny" - in a sort of mystifying way isnt it ?

UserWatch learns that in 2006, the same year as the big push to get patient's "socially included" but without any funding support for any patient groups to form locally , the Birmingham New Hospital Project under Trust control has created a three year "arts plan" of sources of funding which amount to 324k. This year's input into that arts plan from the Trust is 20k . 10k of that is from the Trust charities fund .

This very centralised arts-plan is really more of an image promotion for the Trust because an alternative might have been encouraging patients joining in local and area competitions or workshops, or the like, to get their own paintings and art put up on the walls on good clean building lines produced by an architect. Give the space over to patients and encourage it to be used should be the ethos. Instead money is going to several professional artists and Userwatch has not discovered one with a mental health direct Birmingham connection.

Giving space over to patients happened in Leeds 2003 when a patient started off crayon groups and informal arts-cafe's . He was finally running 9 groups in 2004 with another patient and he resisted attempts by the Trust to assimilate him too closely ..

Its funny ....But where there is a will to do right by the patient without recourse to diversionary phoney image building - patient's will create more of their own arts "voice, and other voices..

Whatever happened in Birmingham ?

It was dominated by a pre-existing patient culture that wanted jobs with a very controlling Trust and although they are now compromised by becoming staff, it appears it no longer matters to them .

Its funny, but bad faith has a way of catching up with everyone ..Maybe not . Maybe they can laugh it off - its that funny .

Patients though are caught in compromising equations now :

"You can elect to have no voice and be pure in a kind of cornered impoverished way "

Says one in a group of others in Birmingham .

"Or you can wade in the new Labour compromise where patients cannot be more in control of their own health , choices and budgets , and the bureacracy is set to increase and increase on slight but partly unreal rituals of direct empowerment"

Says another ....

They add by nods of agreement as another says :

"Joining in the socially sickly weave of mental health modernisation that robs so many of treatments that fit them as its costs more ........The New Hell Service ..."

Its funny how the services gave up on the patient's needs first without employing one mechanism that would have slowly overturned the NHS dinosaur . PATIENT CHOICE .

Dope-oddy-cus, even with the help of ex patients is set to roam yet for a while.

Perhaps that's funny ...

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